Orfeo (1)

Orfeo's passion fills the glittering air
with shakes and tremolos, his patent grief
enfolds our ears and souls.

The way and step is marked
by lute and theorbo, by regal and by harp.
The dancers, like a frieze, leap and descend.

Each ritornello moves the story on.
His Eurydice finally is lost
and we are witness to his deep remorse.

For the brief span
of music in this hall
we act as chorus to
this tragedy of love.

Orfeo (2)

The musicís passion fills the glittering air.
The dancers, like a frieze, leap and descend.
Orfeo true, and Eurydice fair.

Like priests, musicians in the pit prepare
and regal, lute, in basso notes contend.
The musicís passion fills the glittering air.

Each ritornello forces us to share;
we know, and know not, but pretend.
Orfeo true, and Eurydice fair.

Past Cerberus, in trembling fear, they dare
to pass the gates of Hell, in hope ascend.
The musicís passion fills the glittering air.

Doubt is his downfall, all is past repair.
He looks, but glances ancient gods offend.
Orfeo true, and Eurydice fair.

In song his love is lost, and his despair,
his patent grief, enthrall us to the end.
The musicís passion fills the glittering air.
Orfeo true, and Eurydice fair.


Lari Smith

[The Barcelona Opera House, on hearing Monteverdiís Orfeo]